Finally caught up on the blogs and am writing about today… today! Actually, Alice, Kristian and I are in a computer school in the town of Dongola, lined up with other “students” who are on facebook too! It is a bit of a challenge to navigate the menus in another script but I am learning – my vocabulary is improving too… numbers, hello, may i, thank you, and dried dates, are the first words I have learned in Arabic.
We took a little tuk-tuk motor scooter (racing the others on the way), asking for net cafe. Most people we asked were glued to BBC, watching the news of the Cairo riots. Those in our hotel (I took one for the night due to some gastro issues this morning) believe that the government will not fall but the Sudanese actor we met in the pharmacy believes that the riots will be successful. They have shut down internet and mobile service – I never thought I would say it is safer to be in Sudan!
Sudan continues to be an amazingly beautiful country with very friendly people. To paint a picturefor you, we rode south along the Nile with green palm trees and fields on either side of the road (limited to a few hundred meters of irrigation) with sand reaching beyond the water. Low mud home compounds are strung out a bit like a suburb, painted with brightly colored and patterned doors. Farmers working in the fields, kids riding donkeys with cut grass, and men stacking mud, covering it, and then setting it a fire to make bricks (super cool to watch). We can’t help but wonder what they think of us riding along on our bicycles. A friend of mine said, imagine a donkey and cart riding the freeway/autobahn/autostrada at home – imagine!
We rolled into a lovely grassy camp ground in the old zoo but I had already decided that I would take one night in the hotel for a bathroom that was only five feet away instead of 500. Nevermind the bed or semi-warm shower, it’s lifes needs that become important at these times.
Some of you have been wondering about this aspect of camp life… sanitation. For our rubbish, we have three bins: organics (food wastes), burnables (even stuff I would never consider burnable – plastic, etc), and reusables (peanut butter jars, tin cans, water bottles). The reusables are handed out to villages along the way and they use everything for storage, water, etc. As for human sanitation – when we stay in designated camp areas, there are squat toilets (mixed gender) that stay clean for about 15 minutes. In the desert, we each find a discreet spot and take a shovel to dig a hole. While riding, the ladies find a boulder or small sand mound and the men just stand on the side of the road. This aspect of life has really made me appreciate the work that Water1st, our charity, does to build latrines and teach hygenic sanitation methods.
We have one rest day in Dongola and I am looking forward to recovering, relaxing, and wandering the narrow streets of the souk.